The fire doesn't warm me. I hold my shaking hands out trying to feel the heat. For the first time in my short life, I don't want to be in my parent's home.
This place isn't home any more. It's a den of snakes, intent on eating themselves in their haste to please the Dark Lord. I want to leave, to run, to hide anywhere but here. I'm scared. Everything that I've done to please my father has returned to destroy his house tenfold. My actions are just one small part of this travesty. I pull my robes tighter around myself. Nothing warms me.
My father is in disgrace and because of that I'm also a target for ridicule and death. Death would almost be easier than this; this time of utter fear and hate. The evilness of it swirls around me and I can't help the shiver that runs through my body.
I hear voices and I wonder if they're bringing some other poor soul here to be tortured or to be thrown in the cellar where the others are held, the ones that crossed the Dark Lord. I dare not call him by his name… it would be my death and there would be no mercy.
I hear them stumbling in the room. I dare not turn. I do not want to be associated with them. Yet, I hear my father calling me, demanding that I look at one of the prisoners. "Is it him?" they ask, the hunger in their voices almost begging me to say that it is.
I reluctantly turn and see four people. I don't want to look at them. I'm that ashamed.
The first is a Half-blood from Potter's house. I recognize him but his name escapes my memory.
One is the Mudblood, Granger. I hate the bitch. She's made my life miserable for the seven years I've known her. I could easily identify her and not blink an eye. But, I wait and see what they want of me.
The other is Weasley, the freckle-faced, ginger-haired bastard that I mocked so many times and yet, he always seemed to be victorious in the end. Yet he is a pureblood and worthy of some sort of mercy.
The other is a shiny pink-faced man with round glasses. I know who he is. Or at least I think I do. Is this trussed up being the savior, the fucking Boy-Who-Lived? Dare I point my finger at him and say, "It is him!" and turn and smile triumphantly at my parents because I am now their savior; the one who has saved their cold, heartless lives one last time.
I was to be the sacrifice that redeemed them. That was the Dark Lord's plan, but like so many others, it failed.
At this moment in my life, I have come to the crossroads and I must face what I've become. I don't like it. If there was something, anything I could do to change myself I would do it gladly. The lies I've spread, the hate I've mongered, all the horrible things I've done I would wash away if I could.
But there is no easy mercy for the damned.
Yet, before it's over, I will redeem myself. I will have to be sneaky and cunning. No one must ever know or even suspect what I'm about to do.
"Well, Draco… is it? Is it Harry Potter?" my father asks. His voice sickens me; the bile rises in my throat and the urge to vomit almost overtakes me.
I can't look. I am not a liar, but it wouldn't be lying if I don't look directly at him. This man's face disturbs me. I see him attempting not to look at me either. His face looks painful and for one brief second, it pleases me to know that he's in as much pain as I am right now.
"I can't… I can't be sure," I say. I don't want to go closer. Greyback is here and he looks at me hungrily. But my father insists that I come closer and to look carefully at this man.
If there is a God, perhaps he will grant me mercy and save my soul from hell for all that I've done. Perhaps I can start over now by performing this one small act of redemption.
I stand next to my father and pretend to peer at that sadly misshapen face. I glance at my father and see the greed and desire on his face and once again I wish that I didn't look so much like him. Perhaps that will be my curse to bear should I live through this war.
I stare and I feel my father's eyes washing over me. "I don't know" is all that I mumble and then turn and walk to where my mother is waiting. Let them think what they will. This is all I can do for the moment.
My mother speaks and I hear her calm, utterly cold voice telling my father that they need to be certain before the Dark Lord is summoned. I'm surprised that although her voice seems in control that no one else hears the fear running like a low current throughout her words.
She is examining a wand. It looks familiar, but I don't want to see what they are doing. I want to divorce myself from them; not to see their actions nor to be any part of their plans. She speaks again, but the pounding of my heart in my ears drowns out her words.
"What about the Mudblood, Draco?" Greyback snarls. I hear the shuffling of feet and I know they're shifting them for me to study. I glance at my father; he reeks of desire to get back in the good graces of the Dark Lord. There is little I can do for her. I've never liked her, but I don't want her death on my hands. Should I give her up to them to save Harry Potter?
"Wait," my mother says. "Yes… yes, she was in Madam Malkin's with Potter. I saw her picture in the Prophet! Look, Draco, isn't it the Granger girl?"
She has taken it from my hands, clever woman. I steal a glance at the Mudblood and I see in her eyes what she wants me to do. It's that simple.
"I… maybe, yeah," I stammer. I have condemned her to endless torture, followed by death administered in the cruelest fashion. The fire burns cold in the fireplace and I cannot get close enough for any sort of warmth.
I cannot face them; my former schoolmates. I have no love for them, but the distain I had for them is gone. I feel nothing but emptiness as if my soul has been ripped from me and all that is left is the fear I carry inside me.
Voldemort used me. He uses my parents even now. In their fear they are condemning children like me. I am not grown nor do I wish to be a part of their world, if this is what it means to be of age.
The voices grow louder, yet the roaring in my ears drowns out their words. It is the only mercy I've been given.
I hear the order given to take them to the cellar and the fading footsteps tell me they have left the room. I can feel the fear and excitement in the room. Who should call the master? Who will be the favored one now?
A horrific scream tears me from my thoughts. Turning I see the Mudblood bound, her face contorted in agony. My Aunt Bella draws back her wand and hurls another curse toward the frizzy-headed witch. I flinch as the spell washes over her and she screams again. I know the power my Aunt wields. She is evil incarnate. Whatever kindness or gentleness that was in her has been burned away by her madness; all that remains is hate and greed.
Granger has stopped screaming now. She sags limply against her bonds. My Aunt's eyes meet mine and I have to turn away. The urge to run is strong, but I cannot.
"Draco, bring the goblin from the cellar!" my father orders. "He can tell us if the sword is real"
I draw my wand and obey. To disobey would be foolish. I head for the cellar, my mind whirling. Is there anything I can do now? Any way that I could free them and not be discovered?
The steps creak beneath my feet and I cast Lumos because the light is not enough. I could see without my wand's glowing tip, but I fear the darkness as much as I fear myself.
I point my wand at them as the door opens beneath my touch. I'm surprised that I'm shaking as much as I am. I order the goblin out of the room and the others stare dumbly at me. I'm thankful that they don't try anything. I don't know that I could defend myself now anyway.
I hustle the old creature up the stairs and leave him with the Death Eaters. I try to slip unnoticed from the room, but I'm told to get another one.
Thankfully, my mother intervenes and Wormtail goes in my stead. He is a filthy man, fearful and quivering. He is his name. Even his gaze as he passes me makes me feel dirty.
She sees my discomfort and nods her leave to me. She is so cool and collected; so unlike my father in his greedy excitement. I slip unnoticed from the room and escape to the gardens. It cold out here and my breath comes in little puffs as I hurry across the lawn; the dead and withered grass crunches beneath my feet. A shiver runs down my spine and I pull my robes closer around my body. As cold as it is out here, it's still warmer than in the manor.
I am only a teenage boy, not a real Death Eater, not a warrior, not a savior. I turn and stare at the manor, seeing the shadows cross the windows. I want to say that I honestly don't care what they're doing inside. I only wonder if the Dark Lord has been summoned. I feel a stab of remorse that I'm safe, well relatively safe at the moment. I can't stop thinking about them. The Mudblood and her misplaced loyalty, allowing herself to be tortured; tortured for what? She can no more protect him than I can.
I'm sure Weasley is quite comfortable in the cellar. I spent most of a day locked in the tiny room where they're imprisoned. I was four and had ventured down there looking for ghosts. My mother found me curled in the corner asleep because the manor wasn't as terrifying as it is now.
Potter is the last one to enter my thoughts. I don't know what to make of him. I've never known what to make of him. He is so unlike anyone I've ever met before. As much as I've fought with him throughout the years, I think I would miss fighting with him if he were dead.
It's strange when you feel like your life is over before it ever begins. If Voldemort wins, I live and am part of his sick and twisted regime. If Potter wins, I could end up in Azkaban. With Potter, there is no certainty, but it's a chance I would take if given the chance. I shiver again, and it's not because of the night wind.
I see the flashes of curses being cast, the shadows are moving faster; running. The sound of shattering glass echoes across the yard. Now, I hear screams of anger and rage and of fear. They've turned on themselves like jackals on a dead carcass, snapping and biting in their greed to curry the favor of the Dark Lord.
I don't belong in their world, nor do I belong in Harry Potter's world. I am an outcast from everyone and everything.
This is what I've become.